In 2012, I wrote this novella about a young Amish woman’s first Christmas with her new husband, Gideon. She’d only been married a few short weeks and, like many Old Order Amish newlyweds, they didn’t live together during those initial weeks.
On Christmas, with the heavy blanket of snow blanketing the fields and covering the roads, Rebecca didn’t hold much hope in Gideon making it to her parents’ farmhouse to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Will Gideon attempt the dangerous journey?
EXCERPT from A Christmas Gift for Rebecca
Rebecca stood by the window, looking outside at the snow that had started to fall from the sky. The grey clouds made everything look even gloomier than Rebecca was feeling at the moment. After all, with the snow falling and the accumulation growing on the cold ground, the buggies would be left in the barns tonight. It would be too dangerous to hitch up the horses and travel. With a sigh, she turned from the window and crossed her arms over her chest. She knew what that meant: Gideon would not be able to make it to her parents’ house for their first Christmas together.
“Becca,” her mamm called from the kitchen. “Could use some help with kneading the bread.”
Rebecca exhaled and pushed away from the wall with reluctance. Working would help time pass faster, that much was true. But her mind was still on her husband of only four weeks. They had been married the last Thursday in November and, during the past month, they had only seen each other on weekends. He still resided with his parents and she with hers. That was the arrangement until they would be able to move into their new home, perhaps early April.
“Yes, Mamm,” she said obediently as she hurried into the kitchen to help her mother.
Without asking for direction or instruction, Rebecca quickly stepped up to the counter and began kneading the bread that would soon bake in the oven, sending a warm dough smell throughout the house. Trying to forget her disappointment at the weather, Rebecca focused on the bread, kneading it between her hands as she had done hundreds of times before when she helped her mamm, as a girl. But her heart still felt heavy. Why snow, she thought. Why tonight?
As if reading her thoughts, her mamm broke the silence. “Sure is pretty outside, ain’t so?”
Rebecca glanced up, first at her mamm then out the window. The snow was now really falling heavily with big chunks of flakes that fluttered past the frosted glass. Beyond that, she could barely make out the figures of her younger brothers and sisters who were playing by the barn entrance. Samuel and David were making a snowman while little Lovina and Lydia were laying on the ground, their arms spread out over their heads. Snow angels, Rebecca realized with a sad smile.
It had been years since she had made a snow angel. At twenty, she was too old to play outside but the memories of winters past lingered within her. She watched the children, just for a few more moments. The sight of them playing and laughing lightened the burden in her heart. “Ja,” she admitted to her mamm. “It’s beautiful.”
“As if God is showering us with purity and goodness,” her mamm added. “Making the whole world fresh and clean.”
Sarah Price is the author of the Plain Fame series and the Amish of Ephrata series, among other books. She comes from a long line of devout Mennonites, and her writing reflects accurate and authentic stories based upon her own experiences with several Amish communities. Visit her at sarahpriceauthor.com and on Facebook.